Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described Nigerian health sector as one of the worst health indices in the world, lamenting that the sector is underfunded by the government.
Obasanjo decried poor budget allocation to the sector, claiming that majority of budgeted amount were spent on personnel salaries and emolument.
Former President while speaking at the Launching/Endowment for expansion of new site for the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta disclosed that the poor state of health has made the country lose almost N175billion annually on medical tourism.
He said, “By the end of this Year (2018) the cumulative budget of the federal government spent for 10 years would be N55.19 trillion. Of this amount, health has only been allocated N2.51 trillion, which is 4.55 per cent; a percentage below the WHO 13 per cent and African Union 15 per cent recommendation.
“The entire unbudgeted N4.769 trillion would have boosted and improved the healthcare facility. Underfunding is therefore partly responsible for the fact that Nigeria has some of the worst health indices in the world.
“The consequences of our plight include the loss of almost N175 billion annually on medical tourism. This wasted fund is more than half of the health budget of N350.45 billion for 2018.”
Obasanjo also identified health professionals brain drain as a major threat to the health sector in terms of service delivery, training and research.
The former President, however, called for collective responsibility in finding everlasting solution to the problem in the sector.
Obasanjo also advocated 10 per cent budget allocation to health sector by the federal and state governments, claiming that it could solve many of the country’s health challenges such as high maternal and child morality.
“It is our collective responsibility to save the current situation in our health sector.
“There should be an improved funding (at least 10% of budget) to the health sector by the federal government and other tiers of government.
“By increasing its budgetary allocation to public health, Nigeria could solve many of its health challenges including high maternal and child mortality rate which is the heart of goal 3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We cannot talk of funding and budgeting without the expansion of financial options of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), community health insurance, affordable private health insurance as well as the strengthen and contribution of the private sector in the provision of health care in the country”, he said.
In the same vein, the Ogun state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, also advocated for active participation of private sector in the health business.
Amosun, however, donated N50millon to the development of the FMC new site in Ajibayo village, Ajebo road in Abeokuta area of the state, soliciting for the collaboration of private sector in achieving the hospital’s goals.
In his remark, the Medical director of FMCA, Prof. Abdus-Samiu Musa-Olomu said the proposed University of medicine is aimed at supporting the federal and state governments towards improved service delivery, development efforts and creating new opportunities.
Some dignitaries at the event include; The Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Osile of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, former World court judge, Prince Bola Ajibola, Chief Imam of Egbaland, Sheikh Liad Orunsolu , Speaker, Ogun state of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi,other royal fathers and representatives of the Ooni of Ife, among others.